Lehnardt is a senior at Brigham Young University, majoring in
Illustration and Zoology. His future career may be in medicine
or art or some undiscovered field. His mother notes that Michael
has always seen with the eyes of an artist-- filling his kindergarten
drawings with extraordinary details, building sand cities instead
of sand castles, and creating his own unique characters.
came to paint this amazing 26' 6" X 8' mural through an assignment
for an Illustration for Children course in which he was enrolled.
His original rough
sketch was based on Raphael's School of Athens and contained a
dozen or more widely recognized characters from Curious George
to Max and a wild thing. As the mural evolved, the use of copyrighted
characters was replaced with the artist's own depictions of well-loved
characters from traditional rhymes, stories, and children's books
and with everyday readers and seekers of knowledge.
He asked family and friends to pose for photographs in order to get proper details from muscle extension to drape of cloth. He consulted dozens of books and Internet sources for information on everything from the colors used in Renaissance clothing to the shape and color of a female spotted owl. He hung posters, tree branches, reproductions of master art works, and even a dried banana skin in the studio. He studied the scriptures. He sought advice from other artists, friends, teachers, and librarians. He found inspiration in nature; in the works of Dürer, Michelangelo, Raphael, and others; and in his own contemplation of the impressions this mural would have on those who saw it.
the eight months of painting, Michael explored the concept of
sight--different ways of seeing and understanding. The result
of the artist's efforts is a mural layered with meaning.
admits that he is attracted to illustration because he wants to
draw people and the world the way they really are, but he masterfully
blends reality and fantasy in his mural, which beckons the viewer
to step inside and become part of the story. The details of the
mural, its stories and its symbols, invite each of us to see,
to explore, and to remember.